Posted by barb on Nov 20, 2017 in Cute Pets, Pictures

Zephyr in the grass

Zephyr crossed over the rainbow bridge today. We’re not sure how old he was – we’ve had him for almost 6 years, and he may have been 5 years or older when we brought him home. We were certainly expecting him to be part of our family for longer than 6 years, but I’m so glad he picked us for his forever home.

When we first got him, it was clear he’d had some hard times. He had some kind of eye injury that caused his eye to water frequently – we tried to treat it several times, but could only alleviate the problem, not get rid of it. He also had a chipped canine tooth. We finally removed that tooth, but only when it was clear it was giving him problems – our vet didn’t believe in doing unnecessary surgery.

Despite all that, he was a very cuddly guy. He fit right in at our house, finding his place first with Aurora and Artemis, and then as we added Maia, lost Artemis, and brought in Sirius. He was always easy-going, mostly just looking for a comfy pillow or warm beam of sunshine.

Looks like there's a lot of trouble to get into here!
Zephyr on his first day in our house

Inauspicious beginning

In early 2012, we were in search of a black cat – our house felt a bit empty because we had lost Duncan and Ares in 2011. We had just Aurora (the dog) and Artemis (the cat) at that point. The search took us to an adoption event at the PetSmart in Tyson’s Corner in search of “Pinwheel.” We found him at the event, and the rescue volunteer let us hold him to get to know him a bit. Before too long, he took a swipe at me! The volunteer was horrified, telling us that he wasn’t usually like that and that his foster family had no issues with him. I didn’t mind – he had been in a cage all day with people gawking, kids poking, and dogs walking by. Of course he was cranky. I was in love and he came home with us.

Showdown in the kitchen
Zephyr and Aurora in the kitchen

He let me sniff him!

Our first introductions between Aurora and Zephyr were done with her on a leash until we were comfortable that she wasn’t going to go after him. The first time we allowed them together with her unleashed, he walked right past her. She sniffed his butt and then looked up at us as if to say, “Hey, this one is letting me sniff him!” He was the first of our cats who didn’t seem to mind Aurora. They didn’t exactly become friends, but they also didn’t actively avoid each other like our other cats.

Kitty tongue!
Zephyr’s tongue

What a talker

We were warned by the rescue that Zephyr was a bit of a talker, but they really couldn’t prepare us for how much he liked to talk! Until the last few months, he was terrible at sneaking up on anyone because he would announce his presence! I found the best way to deal with it was to just talk back 🙂

And it wasn’t just with us. Whenever someone new would come in the house, he would have to check them out and announce his presence loudly.

Sunggly Zephyr
Zephyr conquering my leg

Pet me!

He was fairly sure that a human’s purpose was to pet him. If a person wasn’t petting him when they should, he would let them know. We weren’t the best at clipping his claws, which he would use to his advantage. His usual tactic was to put his paws on your leg and ejecting his sharp claws until you pet him. And, of course, it wasn’t just Andrew and me who were object of his demands, but anyone in the house.

Sirius and Zephyr almost getting along
Sirius and Zephyr almost getting along

Curly ribbon

He was already older when we got him, so he wasn’t too big on toys and running around. However, we did have one toy that could get him going for a little while – it was one of those toys on a stick, where the toy looked like curled ribbon. I could walk around the house for several minutes, and he would follow trying to get at that pesky ribbon.

Snuggling Zephyr
Snuggly Zephyr

Prowling in the great outdoors

The one thing Zephyr did love, even this morning after his body had started shutting down, was to prowl in the backyard. We would put a leash and harness on him and walk around. Eating grass was a favorite, but he also just liked walking around, watching, and experiencing all the things. We took him out this morning, and Andrew grabbed a number of pictures – a few memories of my guy doing his favorite thing.

Prowling Zephyr
Prowling Zephyr

Zephyr tongue!
Zephyr versus the branch

The house is going to feel quiet without him. And I’m not sure where I’ll get my kitty-cuddles from anymore…Sirius has chosen Andrew as his person, and Maia isn’t much for cuddling.

Snuggling Zephyr

Adoption date: January 14, 2012
Names: Zephyr, Zeph, Mr. Pants, Big Guy
Favorite feature: He had a tiny patch of white on his chest that looked like a little tie.
Known for: Talking all the time, snuggling




Posted by barb on Jun 28, 2010 in Cute Pets, Pictures

I haven’t mentioned Aurora here yet, have I?

Back on May 1 my husband and I biked up to Reston for the annual Reston Pet Fiesta. I told Andrew that if we went to the Pet Fiesta that it was very likely that I would want to take a dog home, and that I would probably not take no for an answer this time. He still said we could go.

Once we got to the Pet Fiest, we started at one end of the row of tents filled with dog and cat rescue groups, dog treat vendors, pet charities, and pet product vendors. We stopped at every rescue looking for a dog who would “talk” to me. We made it to the end of the row, with no dog prospects. I was disappointed, but knew that I didn’t want to go home with the wrong dog. We turned around and made our way back to where we started, and I kept stopping at the rescues in case there was someone I had missed.

When we were nearly back where we started, I saw her:

I can’t say what drew me to her. Maybe it was because she wasn’t running around like a crazed dog, unlike many of the dogs up for adoption. Maybe it was her eyes. Somehow, though, she spoke to me, and I went to sit with her. It became clear that she was a real sweetheart. The rescue’s owner suggested we take her for a little walk and get to know her. That’s where I snapped this pic:
Should we take her home?

Long story short, we decided to take her home. We had to bike home first then drive back to pick her up, and I could hardly wait. She seemed to fit right in:
She's settling in!

We’ve had her now for almost 2 months, and she really does fit into our household well. The cats still aren’t completely sure about her, but they are all starting to come around in their own time. Duncan has refused to hide from the beginning, and he’ll walk right past her without flinching (though he will sometimes grump at her for being to close even when he’s the one who put himself so close). Artemis comes out occasionally, even braving walking past Aurora to get onto our bed at night. Ares? Well, he’s been hiding most of the time, but today he did get within a couple feet of a sleeping Aurora by choice.

It’s still a little unbelievable that I finally have a dog – I’ve wanted one since my childhood dog died in 1992. It wasn’t practical until now. And even now I wonder if we should have waited given that Ares is going through chemo and it’s maybe not the best time. But I was tired of waiting, and Aurora has turned out to be the perfect fit for our household. It might go without saying, but I’m so happy she’s a part of our pack now.
I don't mind the car so much now  My boy with my puppy



Just Hanging On

Posted by barb on Feb 23, 2010 in Cute Pets, Pictures, Random Thoughts
Duncan's tries the new bed, too

Ares enjoys the new crinkle bag

Artemis tries their new bed

I keep thinking I should blog more, but when I sit down to do it, I find I don’t have much to say. This year has been so stressful, and I find it hard to be inspired by much. The house has this pall of sadness over it, and every day at home is a slog. I’m watching Ares to see what side-effects of chemo he may develop, constantly watching what he eats and checking the litter box (yes, isn’t that lovely). Also constantly trying to see that Duncan has food any time he shows interest, and that it’s food he likes. One has few external signs that he’s sick, but I know the cancer is eating away at him. The other has lost nearly half his body weight and feels so fragile to the touch. It’s hard enough to face losing one, but facing losing two just seems inconceivable.

Mostly I try to celebrate them, taking pictures and snuggling copiously. Then, of course, I have to make sure that Artemis, our non-sick cat, gets enough attention, too. Often she feels left out because I’m not facing losing her sooner rather than later. So it feels like every day at home is just all about the cats. And all about the prospect of loss.

On the one hand, I know that it’s “just my cats”, not like it’s a human that’s sick. On the other hand, Ares has been part of my life since 1996, and Ducan since 2000. It’s hard to pretend it doesn’t matter because they’re “just a pet”, because I’ve never seen pets as “just pets” – they’re family members.

So for now, I’m just hanging on. Hoping for the best, and often cursing that hope.

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Cat velcro

Posted by barb on Sep 22, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

Ares and Artemis have been very clingy since my busy, busy two weeks has wound down. Today I was trying to write in my thesis, and they had to “help”.

Ares settled between my legs  Artemis trying to get in my lap



Friday Kitten Check

Posted by barb on Aug 18, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

Yup, it’s that time again. Telecommuting on a Friday means that I have to fend off the cuteness of our three fuzzy residents. Ares spent much of the morning following me around, and finally settled near the window in my office, so he was easy to find:
Ares helping in the office

Artemis was on our bed, with the “Vegas chick” toy (a feather and pom-pom toy that reminds me of the hideous head-wear worn by some Vegas showgirls):
Artemis with the

And Duncan was watching out the front window:
Duncan in the front window



Friday Kitten Check

Posted by barb on Aug 11, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

Ares was waiting for me, as if he knew it was time for the kitten check:
Friday Kitten Check - Ares

Artemis and Duncan were both sleeping in the master bedroom:
Friday Kitten Check - ArtemisFriday Kitten Check - Duncan

[Posted a bit late, but the pics were still taken Friday]



Kitten check

Posted by barb on Jul 28, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

Artemis and Duncan are sleeping-clones on different sides of the room:
Kitten clone Artemis  Kitten clone Duncan

Ares was being silly on the chair by my scrappin’ table:
Ares contorting on the chair



Weekly Kitten-check

Posted by barb on Jul 14, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

Duncan and Ares were easy to find, sleeping on the floor in the master bedroom:
Kitten-check, Duncan Kitten-check, Ares

Artemis, however, was hiding pretty well. I looked on the main level and in the basement, even looking under the futon, where she’s been known to hide when we have service people in the house. No luck. I went back up to our second level and called her a couple times. Then I remembered that sometimes she liked to go in our closet. That’s where I found her, but I’d already disturbed her nap (bad mama), so she was ready to jump out. I had to snap quickly:
Kitten-check, Artemis



Friday Cats!

Posted by barb on Jun 23, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

I’m just about to walk out the door for a scrapbook convention (yay!), and took a spin around the house to catch the kids. No big surprises – they’re all up in the master bedroom sleeping.

Artemis on the bed Stetching Ares Duncan in the window



Friday Cats!

Posted by barb on Jun 16, 2006 in Cute Pets, Pictures

I took a quick spin around the house, and here’s what the cats are up to (no big surprises):

Ares is face-marking the kitchen chair
Ares rubbing the kitchen chair

Duncan is slumbering in the master bedroom
Duncan sleeping

Artemis is sunggled on my sweatshirt on the ottoman in the living room (where I’m working)
Lounging Artemis


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